Five businesses that came back from the dead


When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak launched the first Apple computer in 1976 they were on the bottom of a roller coaster chugging to the top. In 1984 the Macintosh computer was advertised during the Super Bowl and revenue was hovering around $1bn. Then Steve Jobs resigned after being pressured out of the company by CEO, John Scully and the company came crashing down. Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after 18 months of losses and led a dramatic transformation. They released the iMac the year after and followed that with the iPod in 2001. It was a new dawn for Apple, and the rest, as they say, is history for the world biggest company.


First launched in 1932, the LEGO group was one of the most loved toy manufacturers for decades. But as it entered the new millennium and children became transfixed with games consoles, the LEGO ship hit choppy waters and sales had dropped by 40% by 2004. Riddled with debts of almost £1bn, LEGO was staring bankruptcy in the face. Luckily for LEGO, the recession hit and the low cost of its toys once again became attractive to buyers. The company had to cut its workforce and reduce the amount of toys it produced, but sales rose and LEGO are now the third largest toy manufacturer in the world.

Ratners Jewellery

Gerald Ratner took over his father's jewellery business at the age of fifteen. He rose to CEO and drove the business forward to a point where he controlled 2,000 jewellery shops in two continents amassing profits of £121m per year. Then in 1991 Ratners Jewellery was ruined overnight, after Gerald joked during a speech that Ratners products were 'crap' and ' wouldn't last as long as a prawn sandwich form M&S'. Sacked by his board, he found himself at home watching daytime TV he decided to take up cycling as it got him out of the house and this eventually inspired him to launch a health club, which he sold for £3.9m a few years later. He decided to invest the profits from the health club into re-launching Ratners Jewellery as an ecommerce website. Unable to use the 'Ratners' name as it was legally owned by his old company, he has had to callhis new business, Against all odds, it has grown to become the UK's largest online jewellery store.

Old Spice

Like LEGO, Old Spice has been around since the 1930s and struggled to keep its image exciting throughout the decades. By the 1990s it had become associated with ageing customers, a tag that seemed impossible to shake off. Then in 2000, they launched Old Spice Red Zone, and released a new advertising campaign that captured a younger audience. The ads went viral and featured the "Old Spice Man" who helped to increase sales by 107%.


Throughout the 80s and early 90s, Nintendo were the champions of the video game industry with its Gameboy and Super Nintendo ruling the market. Then the mid 90s hit and the Nintendo 64 was completely overshadowed by the Sony Playstation. Nintendo's star continued to wane with Playstation 2 and the Xbox outselling the Nintendo Gamecube a few years later. Everyone expected the Gameboy makers to slip out of the big league, but then they made an astounding comeback with the Nintendo Wii. The new game console was targeted at families and outsold both the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3.





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